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Category Archives: News & Events

News and events for the Greater Worcester Land Trust

Notes from Donker Farm: Walking (and waddling) into the New Year

Image of goose tracks in snow

BRRR! The heat of summer and mild days of autumn feel especially far behind us lately. The snow and frigid temperatures have shifted farm care from a leisurely, meandering activity to an all business affair. While the animals don’t seem bothered by the weather, the human helpers are having to bundle up to stay warm while taking care of usual farm chores and contending with winter challenges like freezing water buckets and shovelling access to the chicken coop and sheep barn.

If you can get past the cold, winter comes with it’s own special set of perks.

The farm is beautiful in all seasons. There’s something especially striking about the red paint of the barn against a backdrop of snow, and the lasting low temperatures allowed farm matriarch and resident artist, Elisabeth, to hang the ice rings along the edge of Tory Fort Lane.

After a busy summer and fall of doing — integrating a new sheep, raising baby chicks, cleaning debris from the paddock and replacing gates and lengths of fencing — the winter chill is forcing us indoors and allowing us time to plan for the spring ahead. Will we add to the flock? Raise another round of chicks? How can we engage more people at the farm? What projects will we tackle next? This could be our most exciting year on the farm yet, and we’re looking forward to keeping you up to date on all of the exciting happenings and changes to come!


Interested in helping out at Donker Farm or general volunteering? See our Volunteering section!

 

Conservation Corridors in Urbanized Landscapes

“…research by Nick Haddad, a conservation biologist at the University of Michigan’s W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, has demonstrated substantial improvements in biodiversity from corridors as little as 25 yards in width, well within the range, he says, of “what’s reasonable in urban landscapes.”

From:

Habitat on the Edges: Making Room for Wildlife in an Urbanized World

Efforts to protect biodiversity are now focusing less on preserving pristine areas and more on finding room for wildlife on the margins of human development. As urban areas keep expanding, it is increasingly the only way to allow species to survive.

http://e360.yale.edu/features/habitat-on-the-edges-making-room-for-wildlife-in-an-urbanized-world

A GWLT Volunteer Experience!

It all started with a simple request.

Could GWLT enhance the trails at Patch Reservoir?

Colin, of course, said “Sure!”  And, so we did. But, not without the help of many, many enthusiastic volunteers!

First, several mornings had to be spent wandering the property looking for a potential trail system.  As it happens with GWLT, an intrepid volunteer stepped forward and flagged the new trail!  And, it was no easy task – there was some rather thick brush just where the trail needed to be.

A few months later, a group of volunteers participating in the Worcester State University Make A Difference Day were looking for a Saturday project.  And, this location was perfect for that group – right around the corner.  That group of student volunteers spent hours tidying the existing trail and clearing through some of the dense vegetation on the newly flagged trail.

Despite their efforts, however, there was still work to do.  It was a long trail!

The next thing you know, WSU volunteers are looking for another Saturday project.  And we had just the location (again!).  However, this time we had enough resources to invite others as well.  So, in addition to the WSU students, a group of Worcester Polytechnic Institute students showed, a father and his two sons working on scout merit badges showed, a group of hearty GWLT volunteers showed.  And, it was fun!  And, productive!

The group of volunteers was so large, we accomplished quite a bit in one morning.  The group at the front of the pack cut thorny vegetation and moved large branches out of the way as they progressed along the trail.  The middle group concentrated on clipping the vegetation the first group left.  The last group of four worked on tree and log removal.  The group effort was amazing!  By the time we finished a section of trail, it looked like a well-worn footpath.  Phenomenal!

There was only a small section left to clear.  But, it had to wait.  But, not for long!

As it turned out, two students from WPI were looking for Community Service hours, so they headed back the following week to work on the unfinished section.

A Thursday morning volunteer event completed the final stretch of the new trail!  We added some finishing touches to the vegetation clearing, removed some small stumps not noticed during the other trail work events, and added the red blazes!  It was a fantastic morning!

If it were not for all those volunteers and groups coming together, the trail would still be on our “Wish List”.

The power of volunteers is amazing.

As a small non-profit organization, volunteers are invaluable.

My hope, though, is they all return to enjoy the trails!


Interested in volunteering for GWLT? Find out more on our Volunteering page!

 

 

 

Ice Rings: Last Call!

With the warmer temperatures and the upcoming rain storm this is your last good chance to see the ice rings hung along Tory Fort Lane from the prior deep freeze.

Pin says “Check it out!”
There are over 70 out there!
But they will be gone by Saturday!
#Worcester #urbanfarming #hikeworcester

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